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Detection of initial effects of pollution on marine benthos: an example from the Ekofisk and Eldfisk oilfields, North Sea

Gray, J.S., Clarke, K.R., Warwick, R.M. and Hobbs, G. (1990) Detection of initial effects of pollution on marine benthos: an example from the Ekofisk and Eldfisk oilfields, North Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 66 . pp. 285-1990.

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Abstract

Reductions in number of species and diversity and increased dominance of opportunistic species occurred late in the sequence of response to oil as a stress factor (within 500 to 1000 m of discharge sources). However, multivariate analyses, (classification analysis using the Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index) and ordination (multi-dimensional scaling) clearly distinguished site groupings related to oil activities at distances of up to 2 to 3 km from the Ekofisk pollution source and up to 1.5 km from the Eldfisk source. The first recorded changes in benthic communities in response to oil were increased abundance patterns of some species and changes in the presence and absence patterns of rare species, with species being mostly present in one site group and mostly absent in another site group. Only under severe pollution did the opportunistic species, which have often been suggested as universal indicators of pollution, dominate. The major site groupings could still be distinguished after aggregation to higher taxa (families and even phyla) when using multivariate analyses. If this finding proves to be a general one then great savings in time and effort, with little or no loss of precision, will be possible in environmental monitoring.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Inter-Research
Copyright: © 1990 Inter-Research.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/23323
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